Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

*

[ocr errors]

can have of it under Etna! Ah! even efforts to float Mr. Lord's convoy too triwe are better off! Yet, if we had a umphantly, call to mind the Epigram aplittle more breathing-fluid.

plied to the British Admiral, Howe, who “) winds,

was sent out with a large fleet and great That in the impalpable deep caves of air-_» expectations, but experienced a wretched

dispersion : But weare quoting from Mr. Lord pre

“Lord Howe, he went out, maturely. True, what we say, must be

And-Lord! how he came in!” said hastily. Still, steady approaches are befitting for a subject which was solemn We believe ourselves to be entirely ly announced to the world by conclave- unprejudiced in the matter We do not and has, indeed, announced itself in per- know Mr. Lord. We have read all his poson-as a minister mediate between us

ems carefully; most of them two or three and Nature. It is proper to pause times. We know we are not influenced five minutes.

by anything we have read on either side.

If anything, we were inclined towards The literary commissaries and sutlers him from the previous commendations of of the public have an extraordinary apti- some accomplished mutual friends retude for the extremes of blessing or specting his general attainments. We cursing. They know no such thing as shall speak sincerely, we hope justly. “ a decent medium.” Nor can the ob

The great and most unpleasant imjects of their notice ever be permitted to pression gathered from reading the posteal along unobtrusively in the middle.ems-insulting the reader with their Like the Spirits of Good and Evil, in the bareness and frequency—is that of imiIndian legend, they alike overwhelm tation, imitation, constant similarity and with their bestowments—whether of borrowing, to call it by no harder name. stones or fruit—such simple-minded ones, On almost every page we are reminded that try to keep somewhere between, at of the spirit and tone-often of the very the bottom of the valley.

thought, cast, and language-of some faWe have seldom seen an author more vorite passage, in some great and favorindiscriminately belabored or bepraised, ite author, who happened to live before than this new poet. Friends, before and Mr. Lord. It must be impossible for after publication, piled up encomiums- any one, of poetical reading, not to see “ Pelion upon Ossa.” Rival Critics, in- it. Thus, the first and longest piece, spiring themselves with “ Pythian rage,”. “Worship,” is, very much of it, in some have let go opposing avalanches of way, caught from admired masters. The heaped epithets upon his head. But that more evident model of a large portion of tremendous “ [” which stood

it will appear (to many readers) in “The two-fold centre and informing soul” Coleridge's “ Hymn in the Vale of Cha

mouny."

.” The great objects of Nature are to Niagara, [Hymn to Niagara, p. 38,] called upon to praise the Deity. Thus cannot, perhaps, be much in danger, from Mr. Lord : either material or verbal avalanches ! Yet it is really unfortunate M

“ Break forth, ye Winds ! Lord—as it is for any author, especially at That in the impalpable deep caves of

air, &c. his first appearance, that he should have

Break forth been so introduced by his well-wishers That in the cavernous and unquiet sea

fiercer harmonies, ye storms! to the public. If he were a true modern Lie pent, &c. prodigy, inheritor of Coleridge's mantle, All sounds, all harmonies break forth ! worthy co-mate of Wordsworth—nay, and be the greatest since Milton-all which To these, my thoughts and aspirations, opinions were somewhat broadly intimated-it was not wise to say so. It Rise, rise, not bearing, but upborne by only provoked excessive abuse per con

them,tra. And the public were far more

Rise through the golden gates uplift and

wide! likely, in the end, to give credence to the latter, since they are always certain The multitude of multitudes, whose praise

In through the everlasting doors, and join to take revenge for over-praise. We

With mighty burst, &c. fear they have done so; and an indiffer- Ye Winds ! ye Storms! all sounds and ent observer may, hereafter, (though we harmonies, hope not,) in view of the failure of such Othither rise ! be heard amidst the throng

ye

voice ;

full:

move

Let them that dwell within the gates of man never failed to transfuse his own light,

genius into what he borrowed. But And them that sit on thrones--let seraphs Mr. Lord has modeled his Hymn directly

hear; Let laureled saints, and let all angels hear- upon Milton's ; borrowing, however, a A human soul knows and adores its God secondary character from Coleridge's pe

culiar tone. For complete evidence, and Mr. Coleridge thus :

to show the infinite superiority of Eng.

land's “ Blind Mæonides” to all his imi. “ Awake, my soul! not only passive praise tators, we quote from Milton nearly in Thou owest !

-Awake, Voice of sweet song! Awake, my heart, awake!

“Speak, ye who best can tell, ye sons of Green vales and icy cliffs, all join my Hymn light, Thou first and chief, sole sovereign of the Angels.

Ye in Heaven, Vale!

On earth, join all ye creatures to extol O struggling with the darkness all the Hiin first, him last, him midst, and without night, &c.

end. wake, 0 wake, and utter praise ! Fairest of stars, last of the train of night, And you, ye five wild torrents, fiercely With thy bright circlet, praise him in thy glad!

sphere. Ye Ice-falls !

Thou Sun, of this great world both eye Motionless torrents ! silent cataracts !

and soul, Who made you glorious as the gates of Acknowledge him thy greater, sound his Heaven ?-&c.

praise. God! let the torrents, like a shout of na- Moon, that now meet'st the orient Sun, now tions,

fly’st, Answer, and let the ice-plains echo, God! With the fixed stars, fixed in their orb that God! sing ye meadow-streams with glad. flies, some voice,

And ye five other wandering Fires that Ye pine-groves, with your soft and soullike sounds!

In mystic dance, not without song, resound Ye living flowers that skirt the eternal His praise, who out of darkness called up frost!

light. Ye eagles, playmates of the mountain- Air, and ye Elements, the eldest birth. storm!

Let your ceaseless change Ye lightnings, the dread arrows of the Vary to our great Maker still new praise. clouds !

Ye Mists and Exhalations, that now rise Ye signs and wonders of the element ! Froin hill or streaming lake, dusky or gray, Utter forth God, and fill the hills with Till the sun paint your fleecy skirts with praise !

gold, Thou too again, stupendous Mountain! &c. In honor to the world's great author rise, -Rise, O ever rise,

Rising or falling, still advance his praise. Great Hierarch! and tell the silent sky, His praise, ye Winds, that from four quarAnd tell the stars, and tell yon rising sun, ters blow, Earth, with her thousand voices, praises Breathe soft or loud; and wave your tops, God."

ye Pines, The similarity here is manifest With every plant, in sign of worship wave. enough. But both Mr. Lord and Mr. Fountains, and ye that warble as ye flow,

Melodious murmurs, warbling tune his Coleridge are deeply indebted to Milton, an old bard of some note formerly. We Join voices all, ye living Souls; ye Birds,

praise. are glad to find that Mr. Lord is familiar That singing up to Heaven gate ascend, with him. Coleridge has been accused Bear on your wings and in your notes his of plagiarizing from a German poet, both praise. in the form of his Hymn and much of Ye that in waters glide, and ye that walk the language. If so, the German must The earth, and stately tread, or lowly creep, have acquainted himself with that sub- Witness if I be silent, morn or even, lime Hymn which Milton puts into the To hill or valley, fountain, or fresh shade, mouth of Adam and Eve. "It is the un

Made vocal by my song, and taught his

raise.” questionable prototype of the whole. It is surprising that Coleridge has not been Thus it is seen that Mr. Lord is not referred before to that source : but Para- the first who has represented Nature as dise Lost is too little read! The cast of Mr. worshiping the Deity. Milton himself Coleridge's is quite different, and the tone took a little from the old Greek Calliof it altogether his own. That great machus' “Hymn to Jove;" and a vast

deal more from that source of two-thirds of the contradiction? Which does Mr. of all modern poetry--the Old Testament. Lord consider the orthodox faith respectThe remainder of the piece--several pages ing Nature? But this kind of excellence -is but an extension of this idea of Na- is characteristic of the whole poem. It is ture worshiping,”- enumerating the the most confused “worship” we ever various parts and modes assigned to dif- listened to. Like a priest overcome with ferent objects and elements. The only the splendor of a new temple, he keeps idea superadded, seems to be, that, “in- repeating the service-constantly driving sentient Nature” is made for “our use at some great conception which he suconly”-standing really, of herself, ceeded in half developing before. We

defy any one to tell at the end of the “A shadow in the else unbroken light

piece, what the bard really set out to say. Of God's pure being” —

This kind of confusion is increased by a and that all her perpetual “sights and pleasant complexity of style. The Poet, sounds,” are a kind of Catholic service, burdened with thought, has so much to to be employed by us in adoring

say between two full stops ! Twenty and

thirty lines in a sentence, with seven kinds “In the earth and heavens clothed, of pauses, (see especially the Odes,) are a Stand up and worship."

trifle to his wants. But perhaps he thinks The idea is partly filtered out of Words. himself fortunate in this medium of transworth, though Mr. Lord has more defi- lating himself

. With him, as with Colenitely set it forth. It is no decided ridge, the philosophical must have a fair honor to either of them. The uses of the chance with the poetical! This is to be, by objects and elements of Nature are in making language difficult to get through gradation to myriad different creatures; with; and the bard-philosopher proceeds and though the universe of things to- to the seige of a great thought, with as gether makes a very magnificent medium many circumambulations, and nearly as for men to worship the Highest through, much noise, as the Levites with their and its great design, beyond any question, rams' horns about the city of Jericho. is for the thought that is in it, it would By the way—and we are reminded of it not, we imagine, be utterly useless or by a passage in “Worship” about

“ harless fair, if the race of Men were swept mony”. Iding constantly the frame from being, or had never been. The of the heavens,”–

-an idea, however, as idea, however, was originally quite old as the Greek Fables—what very difpoetical and lofty. But Mr. Lord, by a

ferent effects different kinds of music are knack peculiar to him, has contrived to found to have! Amphion, with one sort spoil what he borrowed, by presenting of melody built up the walls of Thebes; the external universe-called Nature--as the Israelites, with another sort threw the in itself, a “shadow," a kind of blot be- walls of Jericho down! Mr. Lord's fore the face of Deity, only tolerated by music is, at times, we think, of a naHim for the sake of his creatures. Ab. ture to be effective rather in the latter surdest! As if for ages which no cycles kind of execution. have measured, every world, --coming But the greatest confusion of all is suddenly, to the wonder of angels! forth created by the constant appearance of from the darkness and abysses of chaos, fragmented thoughts and expressions, glorious in beauty--were not thought which we half (often, indeed, wholly) into existence in the calm visions of the remember to have seen before-gleaming Infinite Intellect, to be forever afterwards in upon us, sometimes among things of a joy to the Soul of Deity. Mr. Lord original and striking beauty, sometimes seems, indeed, to have half entertained by the side of such as, we are at once this idea, also. Some four pages after- too well aware, could hardly belong to wards, he finds himself saying,

any body but himself. The pavement

he has laid down-taking the whole col« The flowerets are God's thoughts lection of the volume—and which so much Beautiful thoughts that, long before he gave fuss has been made to have people adTheir loveliness to bless thy thankless mire, is a kind of Mosaic-quite peculiar

sight, Blossomed and shed their fragrance in his and curious. An extensive traveler obsoul."

serves materials in it from all parts of the

world. Here shines the marble of PenA beautiful conceit, and original perhaps, telicus, or “ Parian stone so fair”--there, with him, as applied to flowers; but what dark fragments of polished pillar and cor

nice, from the Tiber or the Arno. Some Who drowned a world, and heaped the what rougher and sublimer, the ruined waters far glory of Zion has been made to contribute Above its loftiest mountains ? a light wave, -and, ruder yet, the massive and solemn That breaks, and whispers of its Maker's masonry of the Runic North. Some bro.

might. ken granite and sandstone may be noticed, Now this, for any charge of imitation, is from old castles of the Rhine,--and very no great matter, yet we dislike to be many pieces clipped from the mausole

so immediately and inevitably reminded ums, and tombs, and low graves, of Eng- of so peculiar and beautiful a form of land-ah! not spared even where the expression. Besides, it is more closely moss had grown around their names ! repeated in the “ Magian Hymn.” There are, too, with the rest, not a few pebbles belonging to curious countrymen

Then what are we of our own, found smooth by our lake Who worship thee in Sun, and Moon, and or sca-shores; an occasional brick is Stars, seen, manufactured by Yankees, at home, Motes in the gleam of all-creating Light?

And earthly fires unseen of eyes impure ! and now and then a slice of soap-stone!

Thin shadows, atoms,” &c. We are afraid Mr. Lord cannot “worship” with great sincerity on all parts As to the Hymnic part of “ Worship,” it of this tesselated work. We should has been shown to be a most palpable think it would be especially hard on copy of Coleridge and Milton. On the this first rod of it—where he particu- succeeding leaf to that we find :larly stands and calls on us and Nature to hear him “ worship.” As this charge of every plant and flower, she offers up

“ Of all that tread the earth or wing the air, of imitation-still more, of plagiarism-is Her daily and perpetual sacrifice: one of the greatest that can be made The clod beneath our feet, the soil that against any author, most of all a poet, we clothes shall further substantiate what we have Her discontinuous valleysridg'd and pierced said, by making a few notes through the With naked mountains, is the kneaded dust, volume. On p. 2d of “ Worship,” is an Relics and ashes of her offered dead. imitation, in form, of one of the

finest pas. The clouds above that overhang the Earth, sages in the small remains of Brainard And ancient hills that seem created old, a gentle man among us once, who was

And stand like altars vast, are but the smoke simple-hearted enough to die singing. That from the mighty holocaust ascends." Mr. Lord, after describing the sound of Notice here the sudden and entire change winds and waters through a number of of style. The flow of the verse, tone, quite beautiful lines, suddenly asks : character, even a part of the thought and “Yet what is all this deep, perpetual expression, are from Bryant's Thanatopsound,

sis. No one can mistake it. TempleThese voices of the earth, and sea, and haunting martlets,” p. 8th, is, we believe, air,

from Shakspeare. At least, p. 13, we

haveAll these,—what are they?-in the bound- “ There is in nature nothing mean or base less void,

But only as our baseness thinks it s0—" An insect's whisper in the ear of night, A voice in that of Death,-in thine, O God, a simple transcript from Hamlet's— A faint symphony,” &c. Then what is one weak voice," &c.

“For there is nothing either good or bad

But thinking makes it so." This whole effect of sudden question and

Such imitations in single lines are quite answer is plainly caught, we think, from

Mr. Lord was even bold Brainard's noble lines on Niagara :

enough to appropriate one of the most Deep calleth unto deep. And what are we famous and wonderful lines in all Milton. That hear the question of that voice sub- The Blind Poet speaks somewhere—in lime ?

Paradise Lost, we think-of music that Oh! what are all the notes that ever rung From war's vain trumpet, by thy thunder

“Might almost ing side?

Create a soul under the ribs of Death." Yea, what is all the riot man can make In this short life to thy unceasing roar ?

Mr. Lord (p. 148) has chosen to steal this And yet, bold babbler, what art thou to twice within the space of nine lines. We Нім, ,

have, first

numerous.

" THIS

IS

nineteen pages

“ My voice made deep and passionate wail,

A cow”_write “ Parody » That with its longings almost might create There would have been no mistake then, The thing it sought.”

and Mr. Poe and his friends, and the Again we have a tone

“ new school,” whatever that is, would

have been relieved from an agonizing de“So musically plaintive as might wake Oblivious wonder in the ear of death.

gree of uncertainty. The wit here is like

Mr. Lord's “naked Soul," a most forlorn The whole of St. Mary's Gift," the impalpability! longest poem in the book, is more than an By the same sign that he has been burimitation—it is a complete transfusion lesquing Mr. Poe and others, in “ The of the spirit, tone, diction, and many of New Castalia,” we may know that he is the particular images of Keat's Eve of also burlesquing

The Ancient MariSt. Agnes.” There is no use of going

ner,” and Dana's “ Buccaneer,” in the balover them together. Any one who has

lad of “ The Golden Isle ”—which for ever read that delicious Romaunt will re

is a perfect tissue of other cognize it at a glance. A single verse poets' fancies, more or less distinctly quoted would be sufficient, where, in both gleaming among his own fantastic conpoems, the maidens are seen kneeling to ceits. Especially does he try to imitate, as the Virgin---the whole accompaniments near as he can come to it, the measure of being inuch the same, with much the Coleridge's utterly inimitable and exquisite same language-Mr. Lord simply turning production. Neither do we know what the moon into the sun, about as wisely as

to make of it, whether a dream or otherthe Ostrich thrusts its head into the sand wise. A “ Ballad Fantasie,” he will have and conceives itself hid. There is through it called, as if that could cover up the sin

There are several out, also, the same affectation of a quaint of its being nonsense. and delicate style—which, on Mr. Lord's beautiful expressions, lines, verses, in the part, could be nothing else than an imita course of it, and some striking miniature tion. Then, the principal incident in the pictures—a part of which are Mr. Lord's tale is borrowed from“ Romeo and Ju- own; but as a whole, it is certainly a most liet.” The girl, like Juliet, takes a sleep- preposterous farrago, ending in nothing, ing potion, to make her look like one and with no meaning in the middle. We dead; like Juliet, she is laid in a vault; should care less, however, if the medley like Romeo, the lover finds her there, and as it stands, were, only original. thinks her dead; and like Juliet, again,

Another unpleasant impression una. the maiden wakes up in the tomb. How voidably following, to any reader, the ever ; perhaps there is only a (printer's) perusal of these Poems, respects the egomistake in the title, and it should read tism of their author. What is worse, he “ St. Mary's Theft;" the author having a

is not original even in this quality. desire to see, by the help of the saint,

Whether great poets are privileged how dull-sighted the public really are.

to be great egotists, in right of superior Sagacity of a different kind is displayed Genius, we shall not inquire. That it is in the “ New Castalia.”

not unnatural-certainly not unusual-is

manifest enough. The strength of genius “ On the old and haunted mountain, (There in dreams I dare to climb,)

lies in the force of being, the intense inWhere the clear Castalian fountain,

dividuality, of the man. But looking(Silver fountain,)-ever tinkling,

feeling-always, through such a medium, All the green around it sprinkling,

Genius is affected, as it were, in person, by Makes perpetual rhyme,-" &c. every thing around it, and as a natural “ And within the pool lay drifting

consequence, places itself in intimate

connection with the whole Universe. Shapes and shadows ever shisting, Ever shifting, ever lifting,

This makes the egotism of Genius :—but Like bats and vampires upon swift wing." remember, it should be perfectly uncon

scious. Here, however, lies a difference What is this meant for? A cunning de- between the eminent bards of a later day vice? We have found nobody could tell. and that sublime race of egotists—the It has been mysteriously whispered that “elder gods.” Milton, and Shakspeare, this was intended as a parody or bur- and glorious Chaucer, knew where they lesque upon “ The Raven !” and other stood, and the dignity of their great office; quaint rhymings of the “new school.” but they scorned to let the world see that Why did not Mr. Lord—like the painter, they were always thinking of it. Of the who wrote over his picture of that animal, modern race, Shelley and Schiller, betray

« PreviousContinue »